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Scam alert: Car wrap emails

From: Virginia Tech Police Department and IT Security Office

The Virginia Tech Police Department and the IT Security Office would like to let the community know that a scam email is being reported by members of the university, including students, faculty, and staff. The email pertains to an opportunity to use your personal vehicle to advertise for a company called “adweek.”  

The current email that is circulating has the subject line “BE A STAR FOR NFL,” but there are many variations that might be used in the future. These emails are sent from valid Virginia Tech email accounts that have been compromised. In this case, the email appears to be coming from the Director of Athletics Whit Babcock, however, this email is a forgery.

The email is a variation on a longrunning email scam that was first observed in 2016, using various major events as a hook. In 2020, for example, scammers used the Olympics to lure in respondents. The email includes a reply address for “@adweekad.co” -- when someone replies, the scammers send a check that the person is supposed to deposit into their bank account and then get a money order to take to a “specialist” to get the car wrapped. The specialist is generally one of the scammers, and the check they sent is fake, leaving the victim out twice the amount of money that was promised.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warnings about these types of scams at the following links:

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2019/12/car-wrap-scam-targets-college-students

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2016/08/how-spot-car-wrap-scam

If you receive an email with an offer to make money for little effort, be suspicious. You should mark the message as SPAM; do not reply or email anyone in the text of the email. If you have already begun interacting with the scammers, you should stop any further communication, and if you have received a check, please contact the Virginia Tech Police Department to report the crime. You can report the incident using the VTPD non-emergency number, 540-382-4343 or online at https://police.vt.edu/crime.html.

For more information about reporting spam and phishing emails, please read the 4Help article on Self-Reporting Spam and Phishes.

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